Table of Contents
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Atri & Anasuya Manthara
BRAHMA is the god of creation in Hinduism who is often credited for creating the universe and everything in it. Along with Vishnu the Preserver and Shiva the Destroyer, the three create the Hindu Trinity. However, Brahma is less worshiped than the other two because he does not enjoy popular worship. Typically, Brahma is depicted as having four heads, each creating one Veda or scriptures.
RAVANA is a rakshasa (or demon) king of Lanka. He is a devotee of the god Shiva and is described as both a treacherous ruler but also a great scholar. After performing many sacrifices for years, Brahma granted him a boon to which he wished for immortality; however, since even the gods are not immortal, Brahma could not grant him that boon. Instead, Brahma found made a loophole, asking for invulnerability toward any gods and rakshasas. In the end, Ravana is defeated by Vishnu's human avatar Rama (since his boon did not make him invulnerable to humans). Typically, Ravana is depicted as having ten heads, each representing his knowledge of the six shastras (or areas of knowledge) and the four Vedas (or scriptures).
VISHNU is god of protection, also known as Vishnu the Preserver. Along with Brahma the Creator and Shiva the Destroyer, the three create the Hindu Trinity. He is known for his role in protecting the world when evil, chaos, or destructive forces reign. When Vishnu comes to the earth, he takes the form of one of his ten avatars. Typically, Vishnu is depicted with a dark or pale blue skin complexion with four arms, each holding a lotus flower, a mace, a conch, and a discus.
INDRA is the king of the gods, thunder, and heaven. After his heroic battle with Vritra, a demonic serpent, Indra is celebrated for defeating such a great evil; however, after the battle, Indra is shown as having a drunken, hedonistic, and adulterous lifestyle. Typically, Indra is depicted as wielding a thunderbolt and riding a white elephant.
LAKSHMI is the goddess of wealth, fortune, and prosperity. She is the eternal wife of Vishnu the Preserver, and both are symbols of wife and husband. Typically, Lakshmi is depicted in an elegant red dress, standing or sitting on a lotus pedestal and holding a lotus in her hand; she is shown with four hands, each representing the four goals of human life: dharma (or moral rightness), kama (or desire), artha (or goals), and moskha (or freedom).
HIRANYAKASHIPU is an asura (or demon) king of Daityas who desired to overpower the gods after Vishnu's avatar Varaha killed his younger brother Hiranyaksha. After giving penance, Brahma granted him a boon to which he asked for immortality; however, since even the gods are not immortal, Brahma could not grant him that boon. Instead, Hiranyakashipu asked for invulnerability by any entity (living or nonliving) that was created by Brahma. In the end, Hiranyakashipu was defeated by Vishnu's half-human, half-lion avatar Narsingh (since he was not created by Brahma).
DASHARATHA is the king of Ayodhya who is married to Kausalya, Kaikeyi, and Sumitra. Although he had three wives, he could not produce and heir, which lead him to perform great sacrifices to gain a boon. Impressed by him, the gods Indra, Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva granted him the boons of four sons: Rama, Bharata, Lakshmana, and Shatrughna.
SHIVA is god of destruction